While drivers bemoan the loss of Silverstone from the Formula 1 calendar, Donington boss Simon Gillett continues work to get everything ready in time for the 2010 British Grand Prix.
And he is adamant things will be fine, despite Silverstone bosses' doubts.
AUTOSPORT talked to Gillett about Donington's progress.Q. After this weekend, you will be hosting the next British Grand Prix. Are there some special emotions now?Simon Gillett:
Yes. It is exhilarating and daunting at the same time. The baton gets handed over to us as of Monday morning, and it is ours to deliver now.Q. How is progress going with the track? We saw photos of you this week breaking the earth on the pits and paddock complex?SG:
Absolutely. We have got the Section 106 all signed and agreed now, so that enables us to press on with the construction now. The machinery has moved into the centre, and as of Monday morning we start to hit that with some aggression.Q. When did the Section 106 get signed off?SG:
Well, it was all agreed last week and I have just had the email from my lawyers confirming it about five minutes ago! So we are really happy.Q. Where are we up to now in terms of the funding? Is it getting sorted?SG:
Getting sorted is the right way to describe it. We've come from a position where we had all the money in the bag in March, when that funding source hit the buffers. So now we are in a position where we have come from zero to about 0.9 on a ten point plan, but we are moving forward.Q. And when would you expect to make some firm announcement about the debentures?SG:
We have said by the end of July, just to give ourselves a bit of headroom on the financing.Q. The British Racing Drivers' Club said yesterday that they were concerned about the fate of the 2010 British Grand Prix, and believed your figures did not stack up. What is your response to that, and did it surprise you?SG:
It didn't surprise me. I don't profess to know their business plan and they don't understand mine. I know what is contained in it, what the detail is. The people that have looked at it -- just look at IMG who are our partners and the world's largest global sport's marketing company. They have generated it, and they believe in it. They have done it for Wembley; they have done it for Twickenham – and many stadiums around the world. Bernie believes in it, Max believes in it. So they are the guys who have looked under the hood and really know what it is about.Q. You've been insistent from day one that there will be a British Grand Prix next year. Has your conviction wavered at any point?SG:
No, not at all.Q. The plans for a breakaway have obviously cast a cloud over the sport. What is your reaction about that?SG:
My reaction is that F1 is a sport that runs half on the track and half in the courtroom. It has long done that, and it will long continue to do that in the future. I am sure we will see a resolution, and reasonableness will break out at some point. I am sure we will have the same 20 cars on the grid next year, plus six new ones.Q. So you are not worried about having a British Grand Prix with no Ferrari, no Jenson Button and no Lewis Hamilton?SG:
I am not going to say that I am not at all worried, but I believe reasonableness will break out.